In the middle of the night I awoke to the sound of the snares going off ... and when I say "the snares" I actually mean all of the man-snares going off. What was freaky was that there was no noise afterwards. The normal night sounds didn't come back except for the occasional frog. Even an animal will thrash around and get scared or hacked off at the snare even if they aren't caught in it.
I couldn't get back to sleep. It was the
silence and the smell. I suppose I could have shined the flashlight
around but that would have given my position away and I was already worried
that someone or something had set the snares off and was now creeping up the
tree to get me. And it figures this would happen on a night without a
moon. I sat there with only the wind whistling through the trees for
company. I could have just about wet myself and nearly did a couple of
times when the fear would really bite. Then the sky started to lighten
I looked down and all my man snares had gone off all right ... and each one
held a puss brain bobbing around like a piñata. I was trying to figure
out what to do when out of the shrubbery up the path towards the road comes a
patrol. I thought for a moment it was my patrol until I noticed they were
a little on the short side to be the women. As a matter of fact they were
a lot more close to my size than they were to the Amazons'.
They were confused and scared, jumping at nothing and everything. Then I
heard their voices and got even more confused. They were boys ... but I
mean boys, not guys or men. Most of them sounded like their voice hadn't
even changed yet though a couple of them had the squeaks. What's more
they were speaking Spanish. What the heck? Then a bigger boy
stepped into my line of sight and says, "Knock that off. You know
the rules. Speak English so I can understand you."
"What do we do with them?"
"All of 'em?"
"Are you being stupid on purpose? Yeah Gomez ... all of 'em.
You want to eat, you do the job. And if we don't get it done before
the others get here you know what happens. Get sticks or something so we
can sharpen them, I don't have enough ammo to take all of these out."
They'd waited too long, the puss brains had noticed them and were starting to
struggle. The boys couldn't get close enough to the now swinging and
twisting infecteds. The older boy was getting angry and frustrated.
I needed to go to the bathroom. Something needed to be done.
I changed trees and then came down a few feet from the older boy.
He was fast, I'd give him that. "You shoot me and you are going to
be in some serious hot water. My unit is all female and won't be happy
... not happy at all to lose their cook."
"Who are you?! Where are you?!"
"I'm in the bushes dope. And until you turn that gun some other
direction I'm not coming out. I swear what is it about boys and guns?
And tell that lot of yours to stop acting like this is T-ball. If
they don't put some oomph in it they'll never get the job done."
Finally we came to an agreement and introduced ourselves the younger boys came
over and were staring at me like they'd never seen a girl before.
"Knock it off already." I turned back to the "leader"
whose name was Kevyn Cormack and asked, "You got any rope?"
"Some," he said cautiously.
"Well get two of your guys on each end and then secure the puss brain by
pulling it back so that it can't swing. I'll put the first couple down so
that you can see how hard you need to swing and then y’all can do the
It took some convincing, and one of the boys puked on his boots, but the job
got done. And I only had to squawk once when they started cutting my
snares to get the puss brains down to dispose of them.
Kevyn came over to me while the other six boys took care of the rest of it.
"You really a civilian contract cook?"
"Yeah. My patrol is in the field. I'm holding their
position." OK, I wasn't for sure that I was lying or not but it
sounded good and Kevyn bought it which was all I wanted at the time.
Kevyn looked like he wanted to say something and I finally got tired of
waiting. "Let me guess, you all need to get fed."
"Yeah. Resupply is late."
"Alright, I'll feed you on two conditions."
Suspiciously he asked, "What?"
"No being a weenie about what I feed you and two, you're going to tell me
how you are out here leading a lot of little boys fighting puss brains but talk
like you are in the military."
"We can't talk about anything top secret."
"You can't just make up anything either."
I stuck my hand out and though he was surprised we shook on it.